Civil Rights Department

Recent Articles

Mayor-elect looks ahead to new job: ‘I’m very, very excited’

First order of business: addressing the racial achievement gap
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Betsy Hodges remarked last week that she doesn’t recall ever before meeting in the small den-like room on the third floor of City Hall. However, the room and the area it’s located in will become hers in a couple of weeks. The soon-to-be-former city council member will be sworn in on January 2, 2014 as the city’s second-ever female mayor. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity to talk to you and the community through your newspaper,” said Hodges during a December 10 interview with the MSR. “I campaigned consistently on two main things. One of them is building this city, and the second is closing the gaps that divide us racially and economically.”

Hodges said her “two main pieces of business” include the seemingly widening achievement gap between Blacks and other students in the city’s public schools. Continue Reading →

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Most Mpls workforce hiring goals currently unmet

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer

 

 

The City of Minneapolis’ workforce goals for construction projects involving City funds are 32 percent minority and six percent female. However, according to the latest monthly contract compliance report by the City’s Civil Rights Department, only two of 60 large construction projects have thus far met both goals. All others have thus far met one goal only or neither goal. For example, Shaw-Lundquist, which was awarded the $2.543 million Minneapolis Convention Center restroom remodeling project, shows only 15.86 percent minority and 4.95 percent female were hired. When asked why the company didn’t meet the stated goals, Project Manager John Myers responded, “I believe that we did.”

However, he pointed out that the job, which he said was completed in late January, mostly required electrical and plumbing work. Continue Reading →

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Mpls civil rights director to ‘ride herd’ on hiring goals

 

 
But reporting specifically on hiring of Blacks still won’t happen
 
 

By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer

 

Minneapolis Civil Rights Director Velma Korbel pledged recently that her department will have a “distinct presence” in addressing issues of employment equity and monitoring construction hiring goals in the city. She also said, however, that the department is still not in a position to specify how many African Americans have found work on publicly funded construction projects. “The [Minneapolis] City Council was very clear that they needed someone riding herd on the work that happens” in the city, said Korbel recently to a small group of city residents March 22 in South Minneapolis at an Early Mornings with [City Council Member] Elizabeth [Glidden] event. “One of the main things we are working on right now is the NFL stadium,” she pointed out. The Minnesota Vikings stadium workforce goals are 32 percent “minority” and six percent women. Continue Reading →

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When will MN’s ‘no Black workers need apply’ policy end?

 
Who will monitor and enforce Black participation on the so-called ‘People’s Stadium’ project?  

 

My concern is for the ending of the discrimination patterns and practices that prevent access for Black men and women to the opportunities of Minnesota (education, jobs, housing), with discrimination led by White and Black elites (City agencies, nonprofits, foundations, churches, corporations, the NAACP, Urban League). My Solution Paper #46, on my website (www.TheMinneapolis Story.com) lists my columns providing details, enough to launch a dozen lawsuits. Minnesota’s discrimination molehills have been easy to sweep under the rug. But the discrimination mountain looming on the horizon, the billion-dollar stadium, will take the “easy” away. Continue Reading →

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Taxation without representation

Force of contract law needed to ensure Black contractors/workers for stadium
 

 

Action: $34 million contract awarded September 28, 2012, by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (FSFA) and the Minnesota Vikings, their largest stadium contract to date, to HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, Dallas, Texas (they did stadiums for the Colts and Cowboys). My concern is not the sucking sound of Minnesota money being deposited in Texas banks: Money follows expertise, not geography, and Minnesota has not kept up. Concern: as of this writing, still no stadium equity plan as called for in stadium legislation. When I talked with HKS people at their exhibit at the Metrodome, September 7, 2012, I asked them if they used minority subcontractors. They said yes. Continue Reading →

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Where is the equity plan for the Viking Stadium?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Minneapolis City Council passed a binding resolution May 10, 2012, directing the Civil Rights Department to report to the June council meeting: “1) Master agreement details, including stadium equity plan; 2) Enforcement and reporting structure relating to Stadium Equity Plan” (see City Council website, www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@clerk/documents/webcontent/wcms1p-093512.pdf. It was approved by Mayor Rybak May 25, 2012. Velma Korbel and her Civil Rights Department has yet to report. Are the State, authority, city council and mayor paying lip service to the stadium legislation or are they serious? No report nor steps to correct reflects “not serious.”

The resolution identifies expectations and reporting responsibilities within the city council’s structure, as defined in Article 1, Section 16, of the stadium legislation. Continue Reading →

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Can Minneapolis taxpayers afford the CRA?

ronedwards

 

 
Is it too expensive for the average citizen?  

The Star Tribune story “New names, old pains on Minneapolis police review panel,” February 20, 2012, reported on what we have reported on for a decade: the slow, continued collapse of the Civilian Review Authority (CRA) and, by extension, the collapse of its parent, the Civil Rights Department (CRD). Thus words in the story were not a surprise to us: “ranks depleted…investigative staff overwhelmed…recommendations routinely ignored,” with the CRA “far weaker” in its investigation “of complaints against the police.”

We know that the quality of professional investigation in the CRA leaves a lot to be desired. We understand why the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Tim Dolan thinks the CRA is incompetent. This is one the dark holes that the Rybak administration needs to be concerned about falling into. Continue Reading →

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